The Environmental Protection Agency’s plan is meant to curb carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and promote clean energy sources. The 26 states involved claim this new policy is governmental overreach.
The states filed a stay application with Chief Justice John Roberts, which could prevent implementation of the plan. Victor Flatt, a UNC environmental law professor, said appealing directly to the Supreme Court was unconventional, and even with the abnormally large number of states involved, he’d be surprised if the court ruled in their favor.
“To me, it’s very much a political issue,” he said. “As an environmental rule, the Clean Power Plan is more extensive than some other rules EPA has put out before, and it requires more of states.”
Brad Ives, associate vice chancellor for campus enterprises at UNC, said he also believes the issue is politics instead of science
“I have a hard time understanding the logic of their arguments since the Supreme Court has already ruled that the EPA can in fact regulate CO2,” Ives said. “I suspect the challenge is not going to succeed, and ultimately the Clean (Power) Plan will be law and will have to be followed in North Carolina.”
Ives, who used to work at the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, said it was up to the department secretary Donald van der Vaart and Gov. Pat McCrory to follow the plan. N.C. DEQ’s website said the department opposes the plan and won’t comply.
“Although the final rule includes some changes made in response to the several million comments that were filed on the draft rule, (DEQ’s) initial review reveals that the rule remains legally flawed,” said van der Vaart in a statement.
Van der Vaart said the EPA’s nationwide approach did not consider state issues and ignored states’ recent measures to reduce emissions or advancements made in renewable energy.
Roy Cordato, vice president for research at the right-leaning John Locke Foundation, said he does not think it is unusual that a number of states are challenging the plan.
“I understand, and I’m not at all surprised,” he said. “I wish there were more.”
Cordato said the important part of the case was the overreach of the EPA putting regulations on carbon dioxide in the first place.
“There’s nothing they’ve proposed that will have any noticeable impact on climate,” he said. “It’s not even measurable. It would be undetectable. And yet, the country’s going to absorb all these costs for basically no benefits.”
Ives said he believes Obama’s plan would be an achievable and necessary step for reducing the nation’s carbon footprint.
“I think it’s attainable, and I think it’s necessary for our country,” he said. “We’ve got to do things to lower our greenhouse gas emissions, and it’s an important step.”